Business

Mexican short-term rental startup Casai raises $48 million to grow in Latin America

Casai is aiming at the tech-sustainable-modern traveler to rival Airbnb

Co-founder and CEO Nico Barawid. Photo: Casai/Courtesy
  • The round includes a $23 million in equity funding and up to $25 million in debt financing from TriplePoint Capital.;
  • Casai currently has 200 units in Mexico City.

The Airbnb-like startup Casai announced it has raised $48 million, Mexico’s largest Series A, and one of the largest ones in Latin America, said the Mexican hospitality company that is now targeting the expansion throughout the region.

The round includes a $23 million in equity funding and up to $25 million in debt financing from TriplePoint Capital. Led by Andreessen Horowitz, the equity funding includes participating investors Andreessen Horowitz’s Cultural Leadership Fund, Kaszek Ventures, Monashees Capital, Global Founders Capital, Liquid 2 Ventures, Tom Stafford (managing partner of DST Global), and founders of leading startups including Nova Credit and the Latin Americans Loft, Kavak, and Runa.

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The new capital follows Casai’s $5 million seed funding led by Kaszek Ventures and Monashees, bringing Casai to a total of $53 million raised. The firm said on a press release that the round will be used to “build a new vision for hospitality in Latin America.”

Casai currently has 200 units in Mexico City, setting as a differential the “high standard of excellence with luxurious amenities, stunning locally-sourced design and sophisticated smart technology.”

Casai aims the tech-sustainable-modern traveler

Casai is targeting the modern traveler, the one that seek for sustainable culture in tourism. So, Casai works with local artisans to design each space’s furniture, artisanal amenities and art, which is available for purchase by guests.

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The startup developed a smart hardware hub, Butler, which connects all of the space’s technology to the Casai app. Through the app, guests can access keyless check-in, control smart devices including Google Home, smart lights, and Chromecast-powered TVs and browse local recommendations.

The hardware allows Casai to optimize guests’ experience by proactively identifying when issues (like internet connectivity) may arise. Casai’s technology is used in all aspects of its operation from its decisions on scouting units to how it manages its behind-the-scenes logistics, the firm said.

Alongside its spaces in Mexico City, Casai has built a dedicated lounge in the Roma Norte neighborhood, where guests can relax ahead of check-in or after check-out. Guests will be able to access the all-day concierge, a team of locals who can recommend and book reservations for restaurants and nearby experiences. In the future, the company aims to have these guest lounges in key neighborhoods around the world.

We want to embed our guests in the culture that makes the travel experience magical while also helping the local economy. We’re honored to have raised this funding to continue this mission and grow Casai to new levels.

Nico Barawid, co-founder and CEO of Casai, on a press statement

Casai built a tech-driven team with hospitality leaders: the co-founder and CEO Nico Barawid, comes from Nova Credit and BCG, and COO María del Carmen Herrerías Salazar, comes from Grupo Presidente, one of Mexico’s largest hotel operators, according to the startup.

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Casai’s CTO Andrés Páez Martínez comes from Google, CRO Alberto Ramos was previously at McKinsey, and Chief Growth Officer Daniel Hermann comes from Selina. Alexa Backal, Casai’s head of design, comes from GAIA Design, and Cristina Crespo, VP of Experience, previously ran WeWork’s international design studio.